Kiana Parkes

3L/’24 J.D. Candidate

Kiana Parkes
Kiana Parkes

By: Matt Jacob

Kiana Parkes was forthright when she walked into her internship interview with the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this year: She wasn’t exactly interested in a career in sports law.

“I was honest about the fact that I wanted to be an entertainment lawyer,” Parkes says. “The two people I interviewed with immediately put me at ease, telling me that working for a sports team was about so much more than actual sports.”

Parkes ended up landing the seven-week internship, and it didn’t take long for her to understand what her interviewers meant. 

Assisting the Raiders’ four-person, in-house legal team, Parkes was charged with conducting legal research, drafting sponsorship agreements, and reviewing contracts. Some of those contracts? They were for artists hired to perform at halftime of the Raiders’ home games at Allegiant Stadium.

In other words: Sports law, meet entertainment law.

“Working for the Raiders, I was exposed to so many areas of law,” says Parkes, who this year is adding alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to her primary law concentration of intellectual property. “I got to witness the overlap in sports law, IP law, and entertainment law. That’s when my interest in sports law grew.”

“Much like entertainment law, sports law is a compilation of different practice areas. It takes many different areas of law to successfully run a sports team, which of course is also a business.”

Parkes, who says she knew she wanted to be a lawyer at a young age, still has her sights set on a career practicing entertainment and intellectual property law — preferably in New York. The ultimate dream: start her own entertainment company.

Wherever the legal journey takes her, though, Parkes knows she will be drawing on her experiences during a brief-but-impactful internship with one of the NFL’s most historic franchises.

“Working for the Raiders allowed me to be a part of a team and an environment that was so lively and inviting,” Parkes says. “I was able to look at legal issues from a different lens and appreciate all the work that goes into running a legal team.

“This internship opened up more pathways for me and made me consider taking in sports clients in the future.”